An order of nuns is campaigning against the death penalty handed down to a man who kidnapped and murdered a Minnesota student.
The group of about a dozen nuns are based in Crookston, Minnesota. According to the Associated Press, it's the hometown of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who in 2003 killed University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin.
The Congregation of St. Joseph has turned its attention to Rodriguez's case as part of its ongoing campaign against capital punishment, with Sister Pat Murphy telling KFGO: "We have laws against premeditated murder. Capital punishment is premeditated – and it's murder."
Sister Pat told the radio station that her stance on the issue may be unpopular in Crookston, where she thinks many want to see Rodriguez executed. "I know my views are unpopular," she said. "Even with my own family, they won't understand it."
The order has written to the U.S. Department of Justice and a U.S. District judge expressing their opposition, but are realistic about their chances of having Rodriguez's death penalty commuted.
Rodriguez was 53 when he was convicted of kidnapping and killing Dru Sjodin, of Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, in August 2006, and has been on Death Row since his sentencing in 2007.
According to the Star Tribune, Sjodin disappeared from a mall parking lot in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Nov. 22, 2003, before her beaten and bound body was found outside Crookston in April 2004.